When it comes to Holiday crafts… I steer away from them. I’m just not that crafty. Somehow, when it comes to trying new things in the world of food… I’m willing to explore my nearly non-existent crafty side.
Last week, my friends at California Strawberries emailed me a picture of stuffed strawberries that looked like Santas. They were so cute… that when they asked me to re-create them for you, I caved —not that they had to convince me or anything… don’t these look yummy?
I thought these cheesecake stuffed strawberry Santas were such a cute idea, that I partnered with California Strawberries to share this post, the recipe, and some useful tips I learned along the way.
After searching the ends of Google and Pinterest for an actual recipe, I decided to whip up some whipped cream (heavy cream is a staple in my kitchen) and attempt to make these stuffed with whipped cream.
The issue: the whipped cream caved with the weight of Santa’s hat. I then tried to stabilize the whipped cream, but I ditched that idea as well because…. well, I don’t expect you go “stabilize” your own whipped cream. I wanted easy, kid friendly, and delicious.
Then I remembered one of my favorite Holiday party foods: strawberry cheesecake bites! Essentially, this is the same thing minus the graham cracker dust that covers the bite-sized balls.
This recipe helped me discover that my middle son is very patient and is interested in doing things in the kitchen. Maybe it’s easier for him since he plays legos… but he had no problem putting in the little bitty mini chocolate chips that made up Santa’s eyes —while I thought to myself: surely there must be an easier way! Where are the tweezers!
He stuffed and assembled these Santas like a pro so I could take a few process pictures for you.
When you make these, remember to start with very soft cream cheese so you can mix it with the honey or powdered sugar easily and stuff the mixture inside a zip bag. Cold “cheesecake” filling is pretty difficult to squeeze out of the zip bag (or piping bag).
Once assembled, refrigerate stuffed Santas so they can hold their shape. If you are bringing these to a party, I recommend making them the night before or a few hours earlier. You won’t have leftovers so plan on making extras.
If you are wondering about using frozen strawberries for this recipe… the answer is no, sorry! When they thaw, they will get mushy .. and you don’t want mushy Santas! use your frozen ones for smoothies, homemade strawberry milk or, my better than IHOP’s strawberry syrup recipe! Seriously though, California strawberries have a 12 month growing season, have 400 families growing them, and over 40,000 acres of strawberry fields! Yup, that’s a whole-lotta-strawberries! For this reason, finding fresh strawberries at your local grocery store should not be a problem.
- 16 ounce package fresh California strawberries, washed
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature*
- 4 tablespoons honey, or
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- mini chocolate chips, to decorate
- On a cutting board, slice the stem off the strawberry (try to cut it as "flat" as possible since the Santa-berries will use that as a base).
- Cut the top third of the strawberry, this will be used as the "hat".
- In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, honey or powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mixture will be thick so it's best that the cream cheese really is at room temperature.
- Place creamed mixture inside a zip bag (or a piping bag) and snip one corner off. Make this first cut a bit larger since you are filling the "faces" first.
- Top strawberry base with cream mixture, top with the strawberry hats, and squeeze additional mixture on top of the hat.
- Next, snip the opposite corner or the bag (or change your piping tip) and make a smaller opening. Use this end to decorate "Santa's" jacket buttons.
- Use mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles to decorate Santa's eyes. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Can you use whipped cream? Yes, but make sure a) it's very cold when you pipe it onto the strawberry, and b) you make small "hats" otherwise they will sink inside the whipped cream.
Revised: you can also use whipped cream cheese and cheesecake filling (although I haven't tried it but one of my readers has).
This post was sponsored by California Strawberries. Of course, all opinions and delicious ways of eating strawberries are my own.